You can now send SMS via Facebook Messenger, instead of the official in-built messages app on your Android or iPhone device. Not just normal texts, you can send stickers, photos, videos, voice clips, GIFs, your location, and money using the Facebook Messenger. The other recipients do not necessarily need to have a Facebook account to receive your messages.
Facebook Messenger now acts as a standalone service, to some extent, independent of Facebook. That means you could use the Messenger app without having a Facebook account, or even after disabling your account.
This feature has the potentiality to earn a lot of admirers. Let me explain why.
I have a colleague who uses a high-end Samsung device, which does not allow its default SMS app to send a text that contains more than 160 words. In other words, if the number of words exceeds 160, it automatically gets converted into MMS, which the recipient may not receive. To fix this problem, he had to use an alternative SMS app, which was, in his case, Facebook Messenger.
In a blog-post in Facebook Newsroom, David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products, wrote, “You can make video and voice calls while at the same time not needing to know someone’s phone number.”
So, how actually can you send text messages, among other things, with Facebook messenger app? The answer is a bit tricky. Let’s follow the following steps and see what happens.
How to send SMS via Facebook Messenger app
- Open the Messenger app and tap on ‘Settings’ or gear icon at the right-top of the app.
- A number of options will appear. You’d select ‘SMS’ and then launch ‘Default SMS app’. And you are done.
From now on, when you receive a text, the Facebook Messenger app, instead of your default SMS app, will display it. You can also respond to the SMS, or compose a new one, by using the Messenger app.
If I send SMS via Facebook Messenger, what about Facebook inbox messages?
Normal or cellular texts will be shown in purple colour, whereas Facebook’s inbox will have its generic blue colour.
How is it different from a normal SMS app?
Unlike legacy messages apps, Facebook Messenger allows you to send videos, audio clippings, stickers, emoji and your location on the cellular networks aside from normal text messages. However, in order to send GIF or initiate a voice or video call, you have to use the Messenger using your Facebook account, in addition to the Facebook app.
What about my privacy?
Facebook claims there should not be any fear over any potential privacy infringement, as the Messenger will not preserve relating data on its own server when you use it as an SMS app.
How will it cost me?
Of course, the Messages exchanged over the Internet will cost you no additional fee if you have an active data plan. Texts or multimedia messages exchanged over the cellular network, however, will cost you as per your operator’s policies.